What is Strength: Example Muckraker Story

The following is an example of a story discovered through the Martian Muckraker RPG and a tarot deck, in this case The Brady Tarot (highly recommend – currently my favorite deck, besides my Muckraker Storytelling Deck). Please not that I am posting this with minimal editing – I want this to show what an authetic improved Muckraker RPG story might look like. This is an improved work of fiction / demonstration of the Muckraker RPG, made within an hour. No correspondence with non-fictional things is intended. The solo, diceless version of the rules were used.

The Hero

Our hero is represented by The Lovers, The Hierophant, and Guile.

Rhodium the Martian had devoted his whole life to spreading the message of the Immutable (Hierophant) and his faith in the Immutable’s power to connect and draw meaning from all contingent reality was his soul purpose.

Nonetheless he was naive about the nature of beings and fell for a shady trick. As Tensions between Earth and Mars rose, one of Rhodium’s co-religiounists, Drake encouraged him to take his place on a religious mission to earth. Rhodium did not know that this offer was a trick – Drake suspected the Great Barricaide that earth had threatened was going to go up and saw this as an opportunity to get rid of Rhodium who Drake saw as a barrier in his attempts to climb the hierarchy. (Guile)

Rhodium was outraged when he found himself stranded on Earth – and realized it could not have been a coincidence that Drake wanted to send him here so badly.

Rhodium was kept from cynicism though by meeting Lu’avor a fellow Martian stranded on Earth. They soon fell in love. (The Lovers).

Central Mystery: Strength

A masked Martian has been sending messages to stranded Martian communities urging a strike on certain Martians he claimed were “conspirators” with the Earthlings. Only through violence, the Masked one said, could there be Strength. Sarah earthling editor of the Martian Muckraker asked Rhodium to help uncover who this was before people got hurt.

The Prophecies

Conflicts, Daughter of Feathers, Burden – these will come up in the story.

First Lead: Swiftness

The Masked One’s message has caught the attendion of many angry Martians, sick of being stuck on Earth, and his being spread fast (Swiftness). From one of his parishoners (underground parish) Rhodium learned that several supporters were meeting at an abandoned warehouse to make plans.

Rhodium snuck into the meeting and found that there were divisions amongst the supporters of the Masked One (Conflicts, lead responded to with prophecy). Rhodium wondered if he could play the two sides off each other to get information. Plans for an attack failed when the group, despite its anger, could not agree on a target.

Two groups diversed from the meeting, one more “hawkish” one more cautious. Rhodium decided to follow the hawish group.

Second Lead: Father of Feathers

This card in the deck looks pretty scary. So at the base of the more hawkish faction Rhodium came . . . face to face with the Masked One and was outted. The Masked One was considering putting Rhodium to death as a spy, but Rhodium had learned some Guile (lead responded to with memory) during his time on Earth. Having been tricked he had trained himself to be good at reading people. He convinced the Masked One that he could be a “valuable source of information.” if he was set free.

The Masked One was suspicious but said “prove yourself useful. We can always kill you later.”

Third Lead: Union

This card clearly synergized with the Lover’s card. Lu’avor was a member of the Ringborn religious sect – and as such their love for each other was considered a forbidden Union. SA scandal broke out in Rhodium’s community. Rhodium suspected the Masked One had outted Lu’avor in order to limit Rhodium’s ability to spread a conflicting message. None the less Love(ers) conquer all and a majority of the community still sided with Rhodium – and turned away from the Masked One.

Fourth Lead: Father of Roots

Synergized with the Hierophant memory, Lu’avor and Rhodium started a mass peace movement, seeking to ground people in community other than violence. There efforts were successful in bringing many to reject the Masked One’s plans – but also made the Masked One more desperate.

Fifth Lead: The Emperor

Rhodium heard that the Masked One was courting a powerful leader (The Emperor) from among the Ringborn sect. If the Emperor came out in support of starting attacks under the Masked One’s leadership, Rhodium feared all his work would come to not.

Lu’Avor offered to be a messenger (Daughter of Feathers, prophecy) to the Emperor given her connection to the Ringborn. The trip would be long, and she insisted on going in person to have maximum effect. The journey would take 3 days through territory held by particularly hostile Earthlings, but she could not be convinced otherwise. Her bravery in coming convinced the leader of the Ringborn to reject the Masked One’s offer

Sixth Lead: Anguish

The remaining card is Burden and the lead is Anguish. The Masked One caused much anguish, but failed because he could not bear the burden of leadership. Despite Rhodium’s best efforts The Masked One was still able to attract enough followers to join his violent plans. An initial target, Sarah Debattista herself was chosen for “conspiracy with Earthlings.”

It was a rough several months as Sarah, Lu’avor and Rhodium constantly had to be on guard hiding earthlings. Nonetheless with enough leaders turned, the missteps of the Masked One’s leadership caused his movement to fade. Sarah thanked Lu’avor and Rhodium for there work – had other Martian leaders stood by him the outcome may had been different.

I hope this sample story makes you curious about my RPG, available at DriveThruRPG or at itch.io.

This game largely came about because of a paradox – my faith and divination are incompatible and I love tarot cards (not trying to start of fight with those with different beliefs. Tarot is interesting – there are some who just seek a fun way for wisdom such as those in the Secular Tarot reddit, some who seek divination either into the future or present, those who seek magic and some who collect them for the artwork. And a very few still use them to play French Tarot). So . . . here is a way I can interact with them and learn with them. I hope it is of use for you on your journey as well.

I made the below image many months ago for a Vampire the Masquerade game . . . in a way it reminds me of the Masked One – but for some reason I get an Earthling vibe from the character. Nonetheless, here is one of my newest drawings.

The Penitent – a character I drew for Vampire the Masquerade

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